Overhauling Your Look

How Are Genital Warts Treated?

Developing what you assume are warts in your genital region can be quite unsettling. However, it is important to step past your embarrassment and let your doctor know what's ailing you. Genital warts, as irritating as they may be, are treatable. Here are some of the treatments your doctor may recommend if you do, indeed, have genital warts.

Imiquimod Cream

This is often the first treatment that a doctor will recommend trying. Imiquimod is a drug that basically stimulates your immune system to become more reactive in the area that you apply the cream. So if you apply the cream to your genital warts and the skin surrounding them, your immune system will start fighting off the virus that is causing the warts, and the warts will slowly disappear. Imiquimod can cause side effects like fatigue and body aches. If you develop these side effects, let your doctor know — they may recommend a different treatment instead.


Podophyllin works quite differently from Imiquimod. Instead of stimulating your body to destroy the warts, podophyllin acts to directly destroy the wart tissue. Since it is a pretty powerful compound, it is usually applied by your doctor in their office. It will destroy the warts, and your body will re-absorb the tissue in the coming weeks. It can leave some scars but is a good choice for stubborn warts that don't respond to other treatments.


For patients who do not react well to medications, doctors may recommend cryotherapy. Basically, this involves applying liquid nitrogen to the wart. Liquid nitrogen is very, very cold, and it, therefore, freezes the wart tissue. It leaves behind a blister-like lesion which then heals in the coming weeks. Patients with ongoing cases of genital warts can visit for cryotherapy every few months to remove new warts as they appear.

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is usually recommended in conjunction with one or more of the treatments above — but only if the patient is left with bothersome scarring after the wart is removed. There are a variety of techniques that can be used. A skin graft may be made if the skin is discolored or pitted where there was once a wart. Sometimes a laser may also be used to resurface the skin.

You do not have to go on living with genital warts. Tell your doctor what you are dealing with. They can recommend the best treatment option for your specific case.

To learn more about genital warts and other STD treatments, reach out to a local medical health professional.